Luxury brands tailor approach to India

10 January 2012

NEW DELHI: Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Rolex are taking a tailored approach to meeting the needs of Indian shoppers as they seek to drive revenues in the country.

To tap into the enormous interest concerning the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix held in India late last year, Louis Vuitton made 200 limited edition Tag Heuer timepieces available.

Priced at Rs2 lakh ($3,800) each, the watch line sold out in a period of just 10 days, suggesting demand for high-end goods remains strong in the country.

LVMH also sells bags which can be matched to individual preferences in terms of patterns and colour schemes, as well as letting customers add their initials to these items.

Elsewhere, Rolex has introduced a service allowing buyers to change specific details about the faces of its watches. While a Rolex typically costs between Rs2.5 lakh and Rs6 lakh, the bespoke variants command sums up to 20% higher.

Technopak Advisors, the consultancy, reported that the Indian luxury apparel and accessories market is worth $250m at present, with customised goods and services responsible for around 15% of revenues.

"The indulgence in these fancies is here to stay for the uber-rich Indian, and will continue to rise in the times to come," Amit Gugnani, Technopak Advisors' vice president, apparel operations, told the Economic Times.

Paul & Shark, an Italian premium sportswear group, trades in India via a partnership with Reliance Brands, and enables buyers to adapt the colours and design of its exclusive t-shirts.

The firm plans to offer the same options for its jackets and jumpers in 2012. At present, the customisation process takes 60 days, and adds over 15% to the shelf price of products.

"Personalised service is all about showing that you have arrived in life," Berry Singh, business head at Paul & Shark, said. "We have many first time discerning customers who are ready to pay premium to get the right fit product."

Brioni, the tailor, currently generates 40% of its sales from creating made-to-measure suits, priced at between Rs3 lakh to Rs12.5 lakh.

"Made-to-wear clothing is growing faster than our ready-to-wear segment," Joseph Jacob, Brioni's brand manager in India, said.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff